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tv   R.E. Olds Lansings Automobile Industry  CSPAN  October 11, 2019 10:54pm-11:09pm EDT

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karen manufacturing in the city is very important to us, that industry is one of the back bones of land, saying we
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have the state capital, and we have automobile manufacturing, those three components have kept lansing very successful, it all started with building this. he was one of the founders of the automobile industry, he moved here with his family when he was about 16 years old and his father had a machine company and their apparent additions and actually build small and, in steam, engines that is when he became familiar with the manufacturing process, this we are talking about the late 1800s and frankly he hated horses and he said there has to be a better way to get around a horse so he was tinkering in his father shop trying to build something that would be self propelled and he came up with a three way car that he built it was a steam powered car and it didn't
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work very well at all and they rebuilt the engine three or four times to get bigger engines and family they scrapped the whole project and built a bigger for steam car and that worked pretty well actually and you have to remember that there were no soft propelled vehicles on the only soft propelled things were steam engine or a train or a steam ship or something like that and there were no self propelled cars or automobile, they don't even have a name for an automobile at the times they had bicycles so they just took these ideas and went with them and mcgahn to have this guy and he's in his late twenties and he's going around driving this contraption that scare the horses but it worked it actually worked and you could go 20 to 30 miles at a time in this thing and i really caught the eye of a couple of investors and they said we want you to make a car and they ended up building three and
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they sold them and one of them they got back in 1950 and that car was given to the smithsonian and when we opened this museum we received that car from the miss smithsonian and we are standing in the 1897 room and this is one of the three vehicles that was made in 1897. it is the rarest car we have in the museum, it's a gasoline car and you called a trap because once you got on the back seat and people got in the front seat you are trapped in the back seat. what makes this car so unique invaluable is there were no cars on the road and you could find maybe a bicycle or two but you never find a powered vehicle and this is the first of its kind and it was done in the same investor said let's build a car company so he bought his dad's company and he took that profitable
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company and put that into the motor works and now is the new company they were going to build cars with the guy by the name of sam smith was the bigger backer and he lived in detroit and was a mining guy up in the dup. so he put most of the money and, started this thing, and he said if i'm going to be invested in your car company we are going to build it in detroit and so they built a factory in detroit and they build several prototype models in this was in 1899 and they incorporated and in 19 oh and they're gonna go to production and the building burned out, of the whole factory but to the ground, so a group of businessmen got together and said, you know we have 53 acres and if you real builder factory and michigan, and they rebuilt
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the factory in detroit and build the factory and lansing all in 1901 and by the end of 19 oh honor they had built 525 cars on an assembly line that was invented way before henry did. so the first car that came to the production was this, it put automobile and him on the map, he was a pioneer in the automobile industry, it has a gasoline engine, it is still on underneath the car, it had a tailor steering and he was very easy to operate, you crank the motor up on the side and it had two years a slow speed and a top speed and a reverse gear in it, that was very successful and they build 525 the first year and more in the second and third and that is what propelled this into business. in building these cars he also
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builds what we call a progressive assembly line, this car moved from station to station and this was 1901, henry didn't sell his first car until 1907 then he watch this and said i can do a better, i can put a belt in here and i can make this assembly line a better thing and he did. so this myths, their family wanted to big big cars and they thought it was prestige and big money and big profit, and henry said we are building the small, car it's good for the masses and easy to drive and maintain and this is what we are going to do. they got into a dispute and family in 1903 he said i'm out of here, he lost control of his old gasoline engine works cars he use that as collateral to buy into the old motor works, eventually they were making a profit and sold off the gasoline engine works, so after
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they had a dispute he was going to build anymore cars and he was quite wealthy and made a lot of money and a group of businessmen, same group that got the factory going said wait a minute, we want you to build another car, we will give you 51% because you are the brains behind this and we just niger paton and they eu now to start another company, well they did, they could in use the name anymore because they lost that, they owned his name so he used his initials and started in 1904, started the real motorcar company, so now it's 1904 and we have two core companies in michigan, we were in the motor city back there so this little car here you think it might be a toy but it's not they built this car in 1905 to take the 1905 new york auto show, that
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auto show was forward dealers only and who is to show the dealers, or prospective dealers where the 1906 touring car was gonna look like, this was way ahead of its time, it didn't have the dies and then to link to build the 1906 so they both the house skill model all by hand, this has 13 ash tires as has 26 inch tires, so this is what started the real motorcar company and they call it the baby rio right from the factory. this wasn't for sale although it probably took several orders, people want this and they said no we're not gonna build that but it was a very popular car, kind of an upscale car during the day but this was the heart and soul of the real motorcar company, they were very advanced car for their day, they always do things ahead of everybody else, so now rio is a full fledged motor company, they are building several models of cars,
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all the production came there in 1905, this is a big automobile town so there is factories coming up, there was the stamping facilities, and it was great, it was great from the city and this man brought in thousands of jobs and thousands of workers and do you know, now we can build churches and hospitals and this whole thing is all because of him and to the development of a car, they built the cars until 1936 and the depression had a lot to do with that and they built the cars -- they built the trucks so this is an example of a 1911 rio track, one of the first companies that build trucks, passenger trucks for four passengers in this was more of a utility vehicle. you could put something in the back and turn it around and it was into
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a car, so what we are looking at here is the speed why again, they were called to speed wagons because they were fast for their day, faster than any ther utility type of vehicle, they had a bigger engine in, it so this is the 1923 model and it became the restock and trade of the trucks. so the group e named there e group are e oh speed wagon, i think it was the drummer that liked that name and they said they will call it that, well that truck division stayed on after 1936, they built chops i'm 1975 so eventually the food you bought out, there were brought up by the diamond truck company but they were called diamond rio, so ransom was always with the motor company and throughout
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maybe 1936 or so when this cease to exist the car portion of, it but he did much more than the car company, he was a philanthropist, did a lot of things for the community, one of the big impacts that he had talking about going from horses to building cars and all the things that go with it, the mouths on the shops in the forges and it at one time had 21,000 workers, there plus fisher body andrea a.d. have that many, that is how many people and one way or another he thought to work, so he was a major, so if not take lansing that we would've had the manufacturing that we had today he started the wall you factor in climate is why we have what
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we have in lansing today on.
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restoring talks about are we there yet, he chronicles the history of u.s. autos and argues against are driving this car, as this is about an hour and 45 minutes. >> tonight we are joined by historian and not a lot of journalist and how, dan has spent a career writing and teaching about the history and culture of technology, this articles can be found in popular science in the journal for the history of behavioral sciences, he holds a ph.d. in history from the university of michigan where he also taught in engineering, then also served as the curator of vehicle collections at the national museum of science and

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